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Home » May 2008 Game CommentsMay 2008 » Clamor


Game 51: May 23, 2008
Red Sox 3
L: Tim Wakefield (3-3)
31-20, 1 game losing streak
WinAthletics 8
W: Rich Harden (3-0)
26-23, 2 game winning streak
Highlights: In just 62 plate appearances against Wakefield Frank Thomas has seven home runs. Alex Rodriguez follows with six homers against the knuckleballer, but that is over the course of 80 face-offs.

Mark Ellis also homered early, his coming in the third with two on and two out. The Athletics had a seven run advantage that the Red Sox weren’t able to overcome, thus ending the visiting team’s seven-game win streak.

The loss was accompanied by the constant, shrill blasting of a one-note whistle as well as the tuneless bleating of a horn. The din obviously incited the ire of home plate umpire Tim Tschida, who ejected Dave Magadan in the sixth inning with little provocation.

The Athletics organization is characterized by intelligence, shrewdness, and innovation, but its home venue is far from a reflection of the club. McAfee Coliseum is a multipurpose structure, housing football and soccer as well baseball. It is round and bland and huge swaths of seats have to be covered by decorations so that the lack of fans is not trumpeted to the television audience.

To add some life to the arena people bring in cacophonous instruments in a vain attempt to enliven the atmosphere. Red Sox fans could clearly be heard out-yelling any Oakland devotees, from the ubiquitous salutation of Kevin Youkilis to the rhythmic chanting of “Let’s go Red Sox!”

But the verbal clamor didn’t inspire Youkilis, who had a rare outing where he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and no walks. Dustin Pedroia broke up Rich Harden’s no-hitter in the fourth inning with a homer into the center field chasm, but the smattering of runs here and there did not put a dent into the home team’s early lead.

In three of his five starts Harden has opposed Boston and pitched adeptly. Oakland may well consider only starting him against the Red Sox for the remainder of the season. Given Harden’s injury history, this may well be the eventual outcome even without such stratagems.

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